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Why Every Creator Needs an Attorney

So you create – you write, you make music, movies, you paint, etc. for a living, but you don’t have an attorney concerning these creations? Then you might have to rethink your priorities. Why? Because an attorney is one of the most crucial (if not the most crucial) persons you need along with you on your creative journey.

As a creator of content, your most valuable asset is in your intellectual property. Your intellectual property is the content you create, and if that content happens to be original, then the more valuable it tends to become.

So what makes this intellectual property valuable?

 Contrary to popular opinion, your intellectual property, your content, by itself is not valuable per se; the value of your intellectual property (your content) lies in the copyright and attendant rights that are attached to it. These rights are what give your content value, and without them, your content is worthless. If your content is copyrightable, certain attendant rights accrue to it, and these rights, popularly referred to as “bundle of rights” are what truly give your content their value. This “bundle of rights” is usually grouped into 2 categories: authorial rights and entrepreneurial rights, and the exploitation of the 2 are what make intellectual property valuable assets. Some of the rights include right to reproduce and distribute the content, right to sell, lease, or rent the content, right to broadcast the content, right not to alter the content, etc. These are the rights copyright ascribes to a creator of original content, and it is because of these rights that every creator needs an attorney.

Why do I need an attorney?

You need an attorney to help you in protecting and exploiting your content, plain and simple. Copyright and the “bundle of rights” attached to it tend to be a tricky and complicated field, and depending on the content (music, film, etc.) in question, it can get even trickier and complicated. Take music for instance, in addition to the copyright and “bundle of rights” attached to a musical content, there are also other rights (e.g. mechanical rights, public performance rights, etc.) one has to grapple with. And these rights are not in isolation, as industry practices and governmental regulation tend to follow them. The same complexities exist in other forms of content, whether film, books, plays, etc.

It is for these reasons that it is advised that every creator creating for a living should have a personal attorney to help and advise him or her in the minefield that is content protection and exploitation. And even more importantly, the creator will do well to hire an entertainment attorney, and not just any attorney.